As part of an ongoing search for susceptibility genes in obese families, we performed linkage analyses in 101 French families between qualitative and quantitative traits related to morbid obesity and polymorphisms located in or near 15 candidate genes whose products are involved in body weight regulation. These included cholecystokinin A and B receptors (CCK-AR and CCK-BR), glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R), the LIM/homeodomain islet-1 gene (Isl-1), the caudal-type homeodomain 3 (CDX-3), the uncoupling protein 1 (UCP-1), the beta3-adrenoceptor (beta3-AR), the fatty acid-binding protein 2 (FABP-2), the hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), the lipoprotein lipase (LPL), the apoprotein-C2 (apo-C2), the insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1), the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and the liver carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1). Phenotypes related to obesity such as BMI, adult life body weight gain, fasting leptin, insulin, fasting glycerol, and free fatty acids were used for nonparametric sib-pair analyses. A weak indication for linkage was obtained between the Isl-1 locus and obesity status defined by a z score over one SD of BMI (n = 226 sib pairs, pi = 0.54 +/- 0.02, P = 0.03). Moreover, a suggestive indication for linkage was found between the Isl-1 locus and BMI and leptin values (P = 0.001 and 0.0003, respectively) and leptin adjusted for BMI (P = 0.0001). Multipoint analyses for leptin trait with Isl-1 and two flanking markers (D5S418 and D5S407) showed that the logarithm of odds (LOD) score is 1.73, coinciding with the Isl-1 locus. Although marginally positive indications for linkage in subgroups of families were found with IRS-1, CPT-1, and HSL loci, our data suggested that these genes are not major contributors to obesity. Whether an obesity susceptibility gene (Isl-1 itself or another nearby gene) lies on chromosome 5q should be determined by further analyses.

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